Finance company bosses have 'blood on their hands'

"There's not one person I have talked to who hasn't had their health affected. People are being hospitalised with stress-related conditions." "I think the directors of these troubled finance companies have a lot to answer for and they have blood on their hands." Another Auckland man, who moved into his garage workshop with his wife after the Blue Chip collapse, has told of being hospitalised after contemplating suicide.

The New Zealand Herald
August 16, 2009

Finance company bosses have 'blood on their hands'
Rebecca Milne

MarkBryersAug09.jpg

Blue Chip boss Mark Bryers faces 60 criminal charges. Photo / Herald on Sunday

Two investors who lost their savings in finance company collapses have taken their own lives and many others are on suicide watch. An Auckland man in his late 60s, who lost more than $100,000 invested in Bridgecorp Finance, killed himself after going into a deep depression.

Suzanne Edmonds, who runs a group representing thousands of Blue Chip and Bridgecorp investors, said she knew of at least one other person, in his 70s, who had taken his own life, and many others who had become sick.

"People are getting so ill it's almost an epidemic," she said. "There's not one person I have talked to who hasn't had their health affected. People are being hospitalised with stress-related conditions."

"I think the directors of these troubled finance companies have a lot to answer for and they have blood on their hands."

Another Auckland man, who moved into his garage workshop with his wife after the Blue Chip collapse, has told of being hospitalised after contemplating suicide.

The 68-year-old, who asked not to be named, fell ill at Christmas after visiting the family bach.

Relatives took him to Rotorua Hospital and he has since had weekly meetings with psychologists and remains on antidepressants.

"I was quite suicidal, I was so low," he said. "Another letter would arrive from a lawyer and we just got the shakes. I would walk around in a daze. It's a disaster. God only knows when it will finish."

The couple were financially comfortable when they bought two apartments from Blue Chip in 2006. They agreed to buy three more from the plans, thinking the rental income would be a nest egg for retirement.

But the company collapsed last year, leaving thousands of investors some $80m out of pocket.

The couple have a combined pension of $400 and can't repay even the interest on their liability bill of between $2.5m and $2.7m.

They resorted to living in the workshop and renting their house to their daughter and son-in-law.

Their mental state was made worse by stories that Blue Chip boss Mark Bryers was living a luxury lifestyle in Australia.

Gary Ormsby, 71, has also been depressed since he and wife Jean, 79, lost several hundred thousand dollars in Blue Chip.

Jean blames Gary's four strokes on the stress suffered since group's collapse. He is now suffering from the early onset of dementia.

Many victims question why it is taking so long to get justice. "We haven't got years to wait for the court to grind its way through. We don't want to spend the last 10 years of our lives fighting," said the Auckland man who moved into his workshop.

Edmonds, a co-ordinator for incorporated society Exposing Unacceptable Financial Activities called on the Government to provide assistance when she met Commerce Minister Simon Power on Friday.

A spokesman for Power said yesterday he would not comment on the health problems but gave Edmonds an undertaking he would consult his officials and give her a written response.

Bryers is facing 60 criminal charges related to Blue Chip-related companies laid by the Companies Office.

Bridgecorp was forced into liquidation by a court order last August. About 14,500 investors are owed $460 million and the company's boss Rod Petricevic and executive director Robert Roest face criminal charges laid by the Companies Office. Grant Liddell, head of the Serious Fraud Office, said its investigation into Blue Chip was still underway.

Bryers said he didn't comment to the media, before hanging up. Neither Petricevic nor Roest could be contacted.

http://www.nzherald.co.nz/the-tangled-web-of-blue-chip/news/article.cfm?c_id=1501803&objectid=10591057


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